People, Travel

Rio de Janeiro Proposes "Mugging Tax" for Tourists

Rio de Janeiro Proposes "Mugging Tax" for TouristsRio de Janeiro Proposes "Mugging Tax" for Tourists

In an effort to "shatter" Rio de Janeiro's "negative image", the city's mayor-elect Marcelo Crivella has proposed a new tourist tax designed to raise funds that could be used to reimburse visitors who are mugged at any point in their stay.

Crivella's "bold proposal", which could result in a new tax for incoming air travelers, has been met with a considerable backlash, Travel Pulse reported, quoting a report in the New York Times.

While Rio has experienced a huge amount of street crime this year, with an eye-popping 8,000 robberies reported in June 2016 alone—more than twice the amount in June 2015, according to the Telegraph—some opponents feel the tax would ultimately turn off tourists to the popular Brazilian destination.

"Creating such a tax makes no sense, unless the aim is to discourage tourism in Rio de Janeiro," global tourism industry scholar, Mario Beni, told the Times.

Essentially, tourists visiting Rio would be paying themselves back through the tax.

In fact, the mayor-elect is "officially" mugging all to pay those who have been "unofficially" mugged in Rio.

"I was in the room when he proposed the idea," Alfredo Lopes, president of Rio's Hotel Association, told the Times. "The first thing that came to mind is, 'If you’re going to reimburse tourists, then as a citizen of Rio, I want my reparations, too'."

In August, a video emerged apparently showing 27 separate incidents of pickpocketing and daylight street robbery of tourists in Rio, The Sun reported.

The new idea has also caused consternation among the crime-ridden city's residents who receive no such financial protection from the authorities.

In June, Rio police rolled out a banner reading “Welcome to hell” in the arrivals hall at the city’s international airport, during demonstrations against funding cuts within the emergency services.

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